Thursday, July 31, 2008

Another anti-religion beat-up from The Daily Telegraph's education writer

The following is a comment that I submitted for Ms. Marilyn Parker's blog (see here). Whether it will be published is another mattter:
  • "Bruce Coleman sees his lessons on a growing fetus and “scientific facts’’ about abortion as fitting very nicely into current school programs"

But according to your print edition the programme make no reference to abortion. Which is it then? And why the scare quotes for ‘scientific facts’? Even if we examine abortion from a purely secularist point-of-view it is a major medical procedure, the artificial termination of a natural process in the human body, even, potentially, at a late (and therefore all the more risky for the mother) stage of that process, with drastic implications for future health and fertility.

  • "it was presented as part of the school’s Personal Development, Health and Physical Education lessons on human sexuality to Year 6 children"

Now I have no familiarity at all with the State school milieu, but one presumes that this programme is presented by the teachers, not the designers of the programme. Teachers presumably read their material before class and can vet any glaringly partisan elements. And in any case, although you assert that we need another bureaucracy (“The NSW government needs to urgently set up [sic] a clearing house for all programs presented in public schools by outside organisations and interests”), surely each school would have examined the programme for potentially controversial material and can modify it accordingly. Is permission to present the programme conditional on it being presented verbatim? I doubt it, and in fact you quote someone affiliated with the programme as saying that “[t]he programme is readily adaptable”.

  • "The trouble is it appears the public schools running this “free’’ program were doing so not fully aware of the deceitful religious agenda"

I beg your pardon? Not “fully aware” because of ‘deceit’ on the part of the programme’s backers, or because of the inadequacy of the school’s Head of Curriculum and his or her underlings in scrutinising the material in question? Deceit is a fairly serious allegation Ms. Parker, especially in such a sensitive matter. How can you allege deceit when a man who styles himself ‘Reverend’ approaches the school, unsolicited, and offers a programme entitled ‘Choices of Life’ rather than, say, ‘Human Reproduction, Module 3A’? Or, to put it more succinctly, “[h]e told me the Choices of Life program was “upfront” with its Christian pro-life views.” Where, then, is the deceit?

  • "The Education Department is totally culpable"

Really? When it had no involvement in the production or reception of this material? Have you any proof that the Department signed off on this?

  • "The Greens MLC Dr John Kaye said today…"

One can predict all too easily what Dr. Kaye had to say. What did Her Majesty’s Opposition have to say? It’s a two-party system, Ms. Parker. One might have expected to hear firstly from the alternative government, especially since its policy on these matters would no doubt be unknown to many of your readers, including me. Why jump straight to a radically secularist party? Oh, of course: because it buttresses your own argument, without you having to assert it as an unsubstantiated personal opinion.

Finally, in one of your follow-up comments you say that “[b]ut the Choices of Life program pretends to be a balanced program about human sexuality”. Is that so? Balance, Ms. Parker, or objectivity? ‘Balance’ would mean getting a pro-abortion and an anti-abortion point-of-view in the classroom. But objectively, the newly-fertilised ovum is a living human body (it has its own metabolism, it is male or female, its cells are dividing, &c.). Furthermore, it is an elementary truth of philosophy that the human being is a unity of body and soul (the body is the enfleshment of the soul, the soul is the principle of animation of the body). Objectively, abortion is, therefore, the murder of a human being. And note that I speak of ‘pro-‘ and ‘anti-abortion’, not ‘pro-‘ or ‘anti-choice’, since choice is a mere faculty, and a faculty is oriented towards its operation. One judges a choice by its operation, not merely the possession of the faculty for choice. Perhaps it will only be when you come before Christ the Judge that you will understand how feeble the ‘I’m not pro-abortion, just pro-choice’ line is.

Disgraceful, Ms. Parker. Simply disgraceful. It seems to me that you owe Mr. Barnes, Mr. Coleman and the Education Department an apology. Not to mention your readers.

But of course you won’t even let this comment be published will you? It would remind your readers that, despite the rantings of the occasional ‘religious nut’, logic is on God’s side.

Reginaldvs Cantvar

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And the whole thing ignores, in any case, the fact that secularism is not "neutral." Why the taxes of Catholics, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Callathumpians etc cannot be utilised for the representations of their views in State Schools is beyond me, based on the assumptions of the State Schools themselves. If the state schools are not meant to be sectarian, why not just have a free-for-all based on proportion of taxes paid by the followers of these religions?

(Not that this is *any* way to be running a society at all, but given the assumptions of the secularists, it just seems to me that they are being anti-Christian, not "neutral.")